An Australian cultural meme


A meme is an element of culture.  A small identifable unit that those within a culture understand, recognise the significance and can use to communicate.  An example may be a nursery rhyme, a significant gesture or even an advertisement.

One group of phrases more than any are indicative of the Australian culture:  She’ll be right, She’s apples, No worries, No Probs and more recently, It’s all good.  They’re all positive comments that give hope and confidence.  They are statements that say nothing is impossible…with luck.  What I want to know is how we ended up with so many colourful phrases for the same meaning.

She’ll be right

“She” is a general term for all inanimate objects that men have had to sweat over to get working.  There is a great tradition in Australia of making do, cobbling together junk to fix a needed item.  The Bush Mechanics are great examples of this ‘make do’ attitude.  So, someone trying to solve a problem with the materials at hand, would exclaim, “She’ll be right!” as they stand back from their creation limping along.

She’s apples

Butterfly on Yahoo Answers gave an excellent answer to the question to the origins of She’s Apples:

At first glance it looks rather mysterious: what makes apples the fruit of approval? But as with so many mysterious expressions, it turns out to have begun life as rhyming slang. In this case the rhyming phrase was “apples and spice”. Anything which is “apples and spice” is nice! And, as with all rhyming slang, the rhyme word is dropped and only the first half of the phrase is used. So, “apples and spice” becomes “apples”. That’s where it comes from. And it’s not all that old. The earliest recorded citation in the Australian National Dictionary is from 1943.

No worries (No wuckas, No wucking forries)

No worries is straight forward but for the more ‘colourful’ from my end of the world, No wackas has come to mean the same thing. What does it mean?  No wuckas is short for No wucking forries…just swap the first letter around and you’ll understand that phrases origins.

No Probs

Same as No worries it’s a straight forward proclamation that everything is right with the world.

It’s all good

Goodness, VSPrasad gave an indepth answer on answerbag but it would seem it is an American saying that Australian’s having taken to their hearts.

The expression got a big push into the mainstream this spring on “Survivor: The Australian Outback,” when it was used by Alicia Calaway, the buff personal trainer, who informed twenty-eight and a half million Americans that, even though she had not won a million dollars, her experience had indeed been all good.

According to Weinstock, the meaning of “It’s all good” is straightforward. “It means ‘no worries,’ ” he said. “If Disney were to use it, they would say ‘Hakuna Matata.’


One response »

  1. Pingback: What it means to be Australian… | Blug…

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